International Youth Obesity, Health & Fitness Series


Front Entrance of ISB, as seen entering Nichad...

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As schools around the world begin to change direction and International Baccalaureate programs begin to switch the focus solely towards academics over physical education, children are being conditioned to live a more sedentary and stressful lifestyle. The right prescription of physical education and exercise may not only increase a child’s ability to cope with stress, but in the long run gives children a solid lifestyle foundation for their future.

I was recently training one of my teenage team members who happens to be a student at the International School of Bangkok (ISB), and we were discussing her class schedule, homework load and food schedule for each day. What I found out was shocking. The work loads for homework are very heavy and the course loads seem excessive in comparison to what was required of me nearly 20 years ago in school.

The stress levels of these kids are skyrocketing as  they find themselves ill equipped to deal with or even understand what stress is doing to their body. This coupled with often times a lack in duration or quality of sleep is preparing our children for a lifetime of disorders. Of course stress causes the release of cortisol, which prompts the body to store fat. Lack of sleep, also another stressor on a growing body is a serious setback to health and overall fitness. This creates a vicious cycle as kids, so concerned with their body image during the critical teen years have no idea what’s contributing to their gain of body fat or inability to maintain the figure they would like.

With all the work that many schools have done to keep certain junk foods off campus it’s still not enough to simply ban foods. Children need foods as they are growing. Often times a teacher may tell kids they cannot eat in class. What I found with my student is that she was going sometimes 5 hours without ingesting a single calorie. In essence she was starving herself for a period of time unknowingly.  After her 6am breakfast at home, which many kids don’t even have, she was not eating again until nearly 12 noon. How can the brain function without energy?

There is a direct relationship between energy levels, quantity and quality of foods eaten. If we are to combat the youth obesity globally, we must get to the roots of the issues. We must teach kids about their body and help them better understand how to get maximum performance in their daily life whether on the playing field or in the classroom.

Stay tuned for more in this series on International Youth Obesity

Fall 2010 Youth Fitness Schedule

Walk, Run, Jump & Play – October 16th – December 3rd

By Rich Thurman, B.Sc., MA, CSCS, CPT

Health & Performance Coach

Active Lifestyle Co. Ltd

With a degree in Physiology from UCLA and a Masters Degree in Sports & Fitness Management, Rich combines his knowledge of rehabilitation and sports performance as well as nutritional studies to provide a complete and holistic approach to training clients. The focus is on lifestyle change which creates long term health.


About Rich Thurman III B.Sc, MA, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Rich has a Bachelors of Science in Physiological Science from UCLA and a Masters of Sports Management from USF. He is certified by the National Strength & Conditioning Association, (NSCA) as a Personal Trainer (CPT) and Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He is primary author of The Fitness Library and writes for various other publications, including the San Francisco Police Officer's Association. Rich is the founder of Xodus Fitness, which offers Fitness Consulting & Personal Training, Urban Body Transformation Bootcamps, Corporate Wellness. Rich also conducts Workshops and an annual lecture at the San Francisco State University Kinesiology Department. Please feel free to contact through any of the links below to inquire about professional services or opportunities.

One Response to International Youth Obesity, Health & Fitness Series

  1. Linda says:

    Would be interesting to see if/how ISB has changed over time…see what Karen remembers.

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